For Your Eyes Only [Blu-ray]
Blu-ray A - America - MGM Home Entertainment/Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
Review written by and copyright: Pat Pilon (5th December 2008).
The Film

James Bond movies being a product of their time, 'For Your Eyes Only' (released in 1981) is a plethora of bad hair, bad clothes, bad music and ill-advised driving choices (a Lotus over an Aston Martin, really?). Despite these attributes, the movie ends up being wildly entertaining thanks to the over-the-top action sequences and balls-to-the-wall attitude, even if it suffers from other problems.

Somewhat akin to 'The World Is Not Enough' that came after it, the somewhat convoluted plot makes no sense when you're watching it, but whatever faults may come up are definitely balanced out by the spectacular action setpieces. 'For Your Eyes Only' beats out the later example if only because there's a real sense of danger here. You never really know when or if Bond will be attacked, and whether he will actually be hurt or not. This raises the tension throughout the movie.

Indeed, the one thing I took away most of this movie is the thought and level of action found inside it. It's very well done with stuntmen doing crazy things like falling what must be hundreds of feet off a cliff, skiing down a bobsled track and doing crazy things in small trails, weaving in and out of people. (You also learn in the extras that the skiier going down the bobsled track was actually tied to the bobsled to make hiim go faster!) Bond is really in danger in this movie. Director John Glen does an excellent job bringing everything together. The filmmakers had access to the Olympic facilities in Cortina D'Ampezzo and they used these things to the best effect.

The plot almost seems beside the point, as Bond finds himself in a variety of exotic locations in what seems like very little time. The filmmakers wanted to keep the movie going as fast as they could and so every scene seems to be taking place in a different city, a different country, in the sea, in the air, on the side of a mountain, what-have-you.

This time, Bond has to find a control device in a downed ship capable of controlling nuclear submarines. This seems like a maguffin, in fact, as halfway through the movie I really didn't remember what James Bond was trying to do. He gets sidetracked by finding a smuggler (this is the 1980s, remember, and the smuggler is suspected of dealing in drugs), a pretty Greek girl (played by Carole Bouquet) who wants to kill this smuggler, and, for some strange reasons that tie in to the main plot, an Olympic-hopeful figure skater (Lynn-Holly Johnson) and her coach (Julian Glover). As always, Roger Moore is very good as Bond, as suave and assured as ever. You believe he's Bond and even though he was getting on in years at the time, you have no problem believing he's an international, womanising spy.

'For Your Eyes Only' is not the best James Bond movie, but it doesn't care about that. It goes all-out, with Bond jumping from place to place without a second thought, and this is necessary because there are bad guys at every turn, it seems. How they know where Bond is at any given time is irrelevant. What's important is that our favorite licence to kill holder has to do incredible and extraordinary things to get keep his life and the life of his new love and her bad fashion sense.

Video

2.35:1 widescreen, using the MPEG4/AVC codec. As with the other Bond movies, this looks very good. Better than it probably should, in fact. Skin tones throughout the movie are very nice and the colour accuracy for the rest of the movie is the same. The contrast and black levels are good, giving the movie a bright and natural look. The level of detail is high enough and you can definitely see Roger Moore's age showing throughout the lines of his face. The print is clean and clear, with no specks, hairs and the like. Likewise, the digital work is clear, showing no edge enhancement or pixelation while still keeping a nice, fine grain. For some reason, I preferred the look of 'Live and Let Die', but 'For Your Eyes Only' should please any fan of the series.

Audio

The main audio track is an English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track, but the original English Dolby Digital 2.0 surround track is also included. French Dolby Digital 5.1 and Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 mono dubs are also included. Like the other tracks, there' really no problem here in the upmixing. The original surround track sounds very nice, and the lossless track only adds to that. Given the original track is surround, the sound environment sounds a little better than older Bond movies (though to my ears dialogue did still sound a little weak in some scenes), and the range is pretty good. The rears are used intelligently when they have to be used, and the horribly dated score synthesizes its way to all the speakers.
English (HoH) and Spanish subtitles are here.

Extras

The disc starts off with no less than three audio commentaries, all of them must-hears for fans of the movie (and the Bond franchise, for that matter). The first one is actor Sir Roger Moore, the second by director John Glen and cast and crew and the third one by screenwriter/producer Michael G. Wilson and cast and crew. The first one is very nice, as Mr. Moore Mr. Moore remembers a lot about his career and he relates a lot of that information here. He has had such an extensive career and he ties in his earlier works with whoever finds him or herself on screen at that time. He talks about the locations, the actors, the plot, playing Bond (again), the stunts and various other things. He also talks about how this Bond movie differs from others in terms of action and its lack of humour compared to others. He has some pretty funny stories to tell throughout the track. There are a few dead spots, but it's mostly quite interesting. Fairly long dead spots also pepper the two other commentaries, which are both spliced together from various interview bits (and is narrated by David Naylor, as opposed to John Cort). Nevertheless, the sheer volume of information is astounding, and you hear tons of production stories, many, many of them about the various stunts and how they were accomplished. These are great tracks.

The Declassified: MI6 Vault has some Deleted and Expanded Scenes. 'Hockey 007 Style' (2:05) and 'Joining Forces' (1:07) are both introduced by director John Glen and are small little moments that were cut due to their being pretty useless. There are also a couple of Expanded Angles for the Death of Locque sequence. The director introduces the sequence (1:11), talking about the various angles, then you see the scene itself (0:47), as originally in the movie and as an alternate angle.

Bond in Greece (5:58), Bond in Cortina (4:17) and Neptune's Journey (3:33) are a few behind the scenes featurettes, with Michael Wilson commenting on the on set footage you see in the various locations. The vault's Credits (1:17) finish out this section.

The 007 Mission Control (aka fancy scene selection tool) lets you pick the scenes based on: '007', 'Women', 'Allies', 'Villains', 'Mission Combat Manual', 'Q Branch' and 'Exotic Locations'.

The Mission Dossier is next and starts out with Inside 'For Your Eyes Only' (29:48) documentary. This is a fantastic documentary and talks about all the stunts, with fascinating behind the scenes footage and stills. The actors and crew are also mentioned, but mostly the doc concentrates on the crazy stunts in the movie. Animated Storyboard Sequence – Snowmobile Chase (1:14) and Animated Storyboard Sequence – Underwater (1:46) show the scenes as they were originally intended and the Sheena Easton Music Video (2:46) shows the movie's opening credits sequence.

The Ministry of Propaganda shows the various forms of advertising. The Theatrical Archive has the 'Theatrical Trailer' (3:49), the TV Broadcasts has 'For Your Eyes Only' TV Trailer (3:55), 'For Your Eyes Only' Second TV Trailer' (3:55) and the 'TV Teaser Trailer' (3:55) and the Radio Communication has 'Bond, James Bond' (0:35) and When It Comes to Action...' (0:35). For the life of me, I can't really tell the difference between the theatrical and television trailers.

A huge amount of pictures find themselves in the Image Database, with galleries for 'The Filmmakers', 'Portraits', 'The Pre-Credits Helicopter Sequence', 'Music and Titles', 'Gonzales Villa/Deux Chevaux Chase', 'Cortina & Ski Action', 'Willy Bogner’s Ski Action Unit', 'Corfu', 'The "Underwater" Scenes', 'Michael Wilson's Cameo', 'Meteora', '007 Meets the Prime Minister', 'Donald O'Connor Visits the Set', 'Doubling 007' and 'Around the World with 007'.

Overall

The Film: A- Video: B+ Audio: B Extras: B+ Overall: B+

 


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